FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 7, 2012 CONTACT: Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work (917) 566

-8871, tico@freedomtowork.org

***PRESS RELEASE*** MORE THAN 100,000 AMERICANS URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO SIGN EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING FEDERAL CONTRACTORS FROM ANTI-LGBT WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION
Executive Order could protect up to an additional 16 million American workers from anti-gay harassment Proposal has cleared hurdles at Departments of Labor and Justice, now rests with White House
WASHINGTON, DC – More than 100,000 people have joined Freedom to Work’s campaign on Change.org urging President Obama to sign an executive order banning anti-LGBT workplace discrimination at companies that take federal contracts – accounting for 22% of all jobs in the United States. Tico Almeida, Founder and President of Freedom to Work, started the petition on Change.org to call attention to the millions of workers at U.S. federal contractors who could be fired from their jobs, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Estimates from the Williams Institute at UCLA indicate that more than 16 million workers with federal contractors are currently unprotected from anti-gay discrimination in the workplace. "The strong response to Freedom to Work’s online petition shows that Americans don't want their taxpayer dollars squandered on workplace harassment and anti-LGBT discrimination," said Almeida. "Our government should never subsidize prejudice." The executive order would also serve as a winning wedge issue during the upcoming presidential campaign. "I predict President Obama will soon sign the executive order because it's the right thing to do, and also because he can use this as a winning wedge issue in the upcoming election. The polling is strongly on our side, and even a majority of Republican voters support workplace nondiscrimination for LGBT Americans. If the Republican star Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin could vote to ban anti-gay discrimination in 2007, then President Obama can certainly sign this simple executive order in 2012." By signing the executive order, President Obama would effectively require all businesses under contract with the U.S. government to protect their employees from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Such an executive order has existed for many decades for African-Americans, Latinos, women, religious minorities, and other groups that face workplace discrimination. The order would give the U.S. Department of

Labor enforcement oversight to insure that government contractors have appropriate policies in place. Additionally, under the proposed executive order, workers at federal contractors would be able to seek back-wages and reinstatement if they are fired for discriminatory reasons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Freedom to Work recently won another campaign on Change.org, urging DynCorp International, a defense contractor that does more than $3 billion in business with the U.S. government, to add anti-discrimination policies that protect employees based on perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. More than 55,000 people signed that petition, spurring DynCorp to act. But dozens of other federal contractors do not have workplace anti-harassment policies that protect LGBT employees. According to Metro Weekly, several sources have confirmed that the executive order has received approval by the U.S. Labor Department and the Justice Department, and is now at the White House waiting for the President’s signature. Live signature totals from Tico Almeida’s campaign on Change.org (and comments from signers across the U.S.): http://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-sign-the-executive-order-adding-lgbtworkplace-protections-to-millions-of-american-jobs Metro Weekly’s coverage about the executive order: http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=7011 For more information on Freedom to Work, please visit: http://www.freedomtowork.org/ Freedom to Work is a national organization committed to banning workplace harassment and career discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender Americans through public education, policy analysis, and legal work. ###

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